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The Recycle bin lets you restore both courses and items within courses that have been deleted, within a set window of time. The period of time that deleted items will stay available in the recycle bin can be determined at a site level, you can read more about this in the site configuration section below. After the configured keep time has passed the item will be deleted from the recycle bin. 

It is important to note that the recycle bin is meant to be a way to recover from a disaster. So that in the event of a disastrous mistake, not everything is lost. The recycle bin allows you to recover the most critical information automatically. Anything that can't be easily manually reproduced or configured should be included in the recycle bin. However we're not guaranteeing that things that can easily be manually re-configured will be automatically restored. You should only ever delete a course if you are absolutely sure that the course is no longer needed, regardless of whether or not the recycle bin is available.

It is useful to note that by default the Recycle bin link only appears after at least one item has been deleted and is within the expiration period; if the Recycle bin is empty then the link will not be displayed. 

There are also some things (such as permissions) that cannot be restored using the recycle bin, so please see this list of exceptions below. 

When activities and resources are deleted, they do not appear in the course recycle bin until cron has run. They are processed by an adhoc task, and as such they are not controlled as part of a scheduled task.

Enabling the recycle bin

By default the recycle bin is disabled, so you will need to activate it if you wish to use this feature.

To enable the Recycle bin follow these steps:

  1. From the quick-access menu, go to Plugins > Admin tools > Recycle bin.
  2. Tick the box alongside 

Restore for course & category level (admin only)

The course interface is accessed via Courses > Manage courses and categories within the quick-access menu. Once you are in this location, after having deleted a course or category, you can find the Recycle bin link in the Administration area. To restore the deleted item follow the steps below:

  1. Click on the Recycle bin link.
  2. Find the item you wish to restore.
  3. From the same row as the item, in the Restore column, click the restore icon. 

The item will now be restored to the location it was originally deleted from. 

Restore for a course (editing roles)

To restore an item deleted from a course, within the configured window, follow the steps below:

  1. From Course Administration select the Recycle bin link.
  2. Find the item you wish to restore.
  3. From the same row as the item, in the Restore column, click the restore icon. 

The item will now be restored to the location on the course it was originally deleted from. 

The recycle bin is only able to recover items when the whole activity has been deleted. Deleted items within an activity, such as individual forum posts or assignment submissions, will not be able to be recovered using the recycle bin. When an item is able to be recycled a deletion confirmation will notify you that the item will be able to be recoverable for a limited time from the recycle bin.

Site configurations 

There are a few things you (if you're a Site Administrator) can configure for the recycle bin, such as the restore window (how long content is kept before being permanently deleted) and also whether the recycle bin link displays in the Administration menu even if it is empty.

To access these setting and change them to suit your needs follow the path Plugins > Admin tools > Recycle bin within the quick-access menu.


The recycle bin uses the system backup and restore functionality. Data that cannot be included in the backup will also not be included when recycling a course or activity. This may include, but may not be limited to:

  • Course ID
  • Course permissions
  • Block permissions
  • Inclusion in competencies
  • Inclusion in programs and certifications
  • Inclusion in dynamic audience rules (e.g. completion of the course)
  • Inclusion in Learning Plans
  • Featured links containing the course are not restored

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